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North-east production company announces launch of its latest film

By David Porter

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Page Break Productions, a Scottish film production company based in Banchory is celebrating the completion of their latest short film entitled The Treasurer.

Richard Burke, on set during the filming of The Treasurer with Daniel Campbell (as Gerry) and Carrie Dodds (as Martha).
Richard Burke, on set during the filming of The Treasurer with Daniel Campbell (as Gerry) and Carrie Dodds (as Martha).

The thriller, written by Richard Burke, was shot under Covid-19 restrictions on location in August last year.

The Treasurer is set in the 1970s and tells of Gerry, an innocuous Scottish bank manager, who during the early ‘70s was blackmailed into managing the finances of an Irish dissident paramilitary organisation.

He carries out his duties for several years but then, in an act of 'taking out insurance' he begins to keep detailed ledgers of the organisation's financial activities.

The Treasurer starts when the organisation learns that Gerry has kept a copy of the records and wants the ledgers back.

The story originated from Richard's interest with the ‘70s era.

Richard moved from Wales to Scotland during the early 1970s, and he recalls the regular TV and radio news coverage of the time.

He said: “I vividly remember the horrific events stemming from Irish sectarianism, in the 1970s and broadly used that backdrop for this story of pure fiction.

"I deliberately kept ‘the organisation’ unrelated to either side of the divide, as I wanted to keep the story ‘neutral’.

"I set out to tell a cracking story and I hope we’ve succeeded”.

For any small production company, getting a short film off the ground can prove costly, and 2020 had the added complexities created by Covid-19. To add to their problems, producing a period thriller requires additional funding, so filming on a tight budget, coupled with Covid lockdown, brought many challenges.

The Treasurer
The Treasurer

Page Break had carefully scheduled the shoot during August 2020 in Aberdeenshire and had all the equipment and assets in place.

It pressed ahead even when last minute additional restrictions almost scuppered the production but quickly found creative solutions that complied with the updated regulations, to ensure the filming was completed safely.

All three actors in the film started out rehearsing virtually, on-line.

Daniel Campbell, chosen for Gerry's role, lives in London, so all his rehearsals were via virtual calls.

Carrie Dodds, who played Martha, Gerry's wife, is based in Glasgow and could meet in person for early solo rehearsals, as could Austyn Robb who played the antagonist.

The company recruited several talented young crew members from across Scotland, resulting in a production team who were passionate about the project.

Richard and Michael found that the team gelled quickly from the outset with a mix of in-person and remote working.

Michael Silva, producer, said, “The whole team understood the difficulties that we faced during this time, but everyone showed great passion in working together to create this film, whether it was in person or virtually.

"It shows that there’s a lot of hungry, creative film talent in Scotland”.

With the country either in full or regional lockdown, all of the post-production work, (editing, colouring, music, sound, visual effects), had to be done virtually.

The director and the producer have never actually met the editor, Jack Brown, in person, and all meetings were held successfully via the internet or mobile phone.

One aspect of the film which requires special mention is the music.

John Logan of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow composed the film's score.

He has previously worked with Page Break Productions on other projects, including his beautiful score for Scottish fishing village period drama Whistle My Lad.

Richard brought on board his niece, the talented young singer Carys Taylor to perform an aria from Mozart’s The Magic Flute.

Accompanied on the piano by her sister Katie, this was recorded locally in Aberdeen at the start of December 2020.

Page Break Productions are working on several new projects, an exciting TV Series based around the story of The Treasurer, a feature film located in Glasgow and London, a mini web-series, and another short film, written by Michael, which he will direct once lockdown allows.

For more information visit www.pagebreakproductions.com

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